Cardiomyocyte Krüppel-Like Factor 5 Promotes De Novo Ceramide Biosynthesis and Contributes to Eccentric Remodeling in Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

Circulation. 2021 Mar 16;143(11):1139-1156. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.047420. Epub 2021 Jan 12.


Background: We previously showed that cardiomyocyte Krϋppel-like factor (KLF) 5 regulates cardiac fatty acid oxidation. As heart failure has been associated with altered fatty acid oxidation, we investigated the role of cardiomyocyte KLF5 in lipid metabolism and pathophysiology of ischemic heart failure.

Methods: Using real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot, we investigated the KLF5 expression changes in a myocardial infarction (MI) mouse model and heart tissue from patients with ischemic heart failure. Using 2D echocardiography, we evaluated the effect of KLF5 inhibition after MI using pharmacological KLF5 inhibitor ML264 and mice with cardiomyocyte-specific KLF5 deletion (αMHC [α-myosin heavy chain]-KLF5-/-). We identified the involvement of KLF5 in regulating lipid metabolism and ceramide accumulation after MI using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and Western blot and real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis of ceramide metabolism-related genes. We lastly evaluated the effect of cardiomyocyte-specific KLF5 overexpression (αMHC-rtTA [reverse tetracycline-controlled transactivator]-KLF5) on cardiac function and ceramide metabolism, and rescued the phenotype using myriocin to inhibit ceramide biosynthesis.

Results: KLF5 mRNA and protein levels were higher in human ischemic heart failure samples and in rodent models at 24 hours, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks post-permanent left coronary artery ligation. αMHC-KLF5-/- mice and mice treated with ML264 had higher ejection fraction and lower ventricular volume and heart weight after MI. Lipidomic analysis showed that αMHC-KLF5-/- mice with MI had lower myocardial ceramide levels compared with littermate control mice with MI, although basal ceramide content of αMHC-KLF5-/- mice was not different in control mice. KLF5 ablation suppressed the expression of SPTLC1 and SPTLC2 (serine palmitoyltransferase [SPT] long-chain base subunit ()1 2, respectively), which regulate de novo ceramide biosynthesis. We confirmed our previous findings that myocardial SPTLC1 and SPTLC2 levels are increased in heart failure patients. Consistently, αMHC-rtTA-KLF5 mice showed increased SPTLC1 and SPTLC2 expression, higher myocardial ceramide levels, and systolic dysfunction beginning 2 weeks after KLF5 induction. Treatment of αMHC-rtTA-KLF5 mice with myriocin that inhibits SPT, suppressed myocardial ceramide levels and alleviated systolic dysfunction.

Conclusions: KLF5 is induced during the development of ischemic heart failure in humans and mice and stimulates ceramide biosynthesis. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of KLF5 in mice with MI prevents ceramide accumulation, alleviates eccentric remodeling, and increases ejection fraction. Thus, KLF5 emerges as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of ischemic heart failure.

Keywords: cardiomyopathies; ceramides; heart failure; myocardial ischemia.